They’re, Their, There, my Dear
Very few computer software programs can tell us the difference among there, their, and they’re.
When such simple errors occur, many judge the writer as uneducated or careless. We would rather not communicate either of those judgments.
Know what each means and what each is intended to replace, and then each is easier to remember.
Lesson 1: EASIEST TO LEARN, EASIEST TO REMEMBER, EASIEST NOT TO MISTAKE
They’re. That little apostrophe means something is left out–the letter A and the space separating the two words “they are”.
It’s the same as “can’t” for “cannot”.
And “won’t” for “will not”.
In what we’re writing, if we can break the word into “they are”, then “they’re is the choice you make.”
Lesson 2: HARDEST TO LEARN. HARDEST TO REMEMBER.
Their. Many of us default to this possessive pronoun via the process of elimination.
It seems simple enough: “their” is a possessive pronoun.
“Their knotty problems”
“The knotty problems are theirs, not mine, thank the good Lord.”
Basically, that is all we must remember. However, it can be difficult when we are writing on the fly.
Lesson 3: AND THE OTHER ONE.
There. It shows placement. Its friend is “here”. “Here” is even part of “there”. 😉
“That file is here” >> “That file is there.”
“There” can be a lazy placeholder: Waiter, there is a fly in my soup.
Take it out >> Waiter, a fly is in my soup.
Ah, now we see something we didn’t anticipate. Removing “there” causes both subject and verb to become more emphatic (stressed >> important!). Using “there” removes emphasis from “fly” and “is” . . . which are the two things causing your current unhappiness with your restaurant meal.